Direct Conversion Of Nanoscale Thermal Radiation To Electrical Energy Using Pyroelectric Materials


Many nations are facing challenges of rapidly expanding energy needs. However large amount of energy consumption is lost as a by-product of power refrigeration or heat pump cycles as required by the second law of thermodynamics. Most of the lost energy appears as low grade waste heat which is hard to reuse or recover because of its low temperature. Pyroelectric energy converters are a novel direct-energy conversion technology that transforms waste heat directly into electricity. It makes use of the pyroelectric effect to create a flow of charge to or from the surface of a material as a result of a temperature change. These devices could achieve large heat transfer rates and fast temporal temperature oscillations and thus very large power output. Fast temperature oscillations are achieved by nanoscale radiative heat transfer where a small separation between the heat source and pyroelectric element enhances heat transfer by several orders of magnitude.


1) Produces useful energy from otherwise unusable waste heat 2) Generated power output could be large

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